Instructor-coInstructor-Helper communications

At an in-person workshop, helpers can check in with each other, recruit people with specific expertise to solve problems, discuss schedule modifications etc. How are these conversations best carried out in the context of an online workshop?

When co-teaching instructor training, I’ve used slack. It works pretty well, though it is a lot of separate things to keep track of. It’s much harder when instructors have communication via zoom chat because it’s mixed in to participant conversations and easy to miss something as instructor while you’re speaking It would probably also be more important for the teaching team to have a preworkshop meeting.

1 Like

In the context of the Gallantries project, we used mostly two GDocs;

  • one was aimed for communication between Instructors and Helpers (but not the Instructor who is actually teaching) and
  • one for communication with the Participants (functionality similar to the etherpad).

The active Instructor was monitoring only the Participants GDoc for questions/comments/issues, whereas the Instructors GDoc was used to keep track of issues, communicate between the different physical sites, and discuss pacing issues that may come up (in other words, like a coordination system). The active Instructor is notified of really pressing issues (such as “we cannot hear you”, or “we are going to fast now”, etc) via zoom pings. Originally we used a single GDoc but, as @brownsarahm mentioned, it became too complex to monitor as an active instructor.

Of course, this means that, for a truly online version, you’ll need also “helpers” - in this context, “helpers” would be people that will not teach at any given point, but would be able to connect to individual breakout rooms to solve issues, update and monitor the Participants GDoc as well as ping the active Instructor for major issues.

Still work in progress though. :slight_smile:

1 Like

We always have a back channel for the team when doing events online (e.g. instructor training, our fellows selection day that happens online) and we (almost) always make sure that it is on a different app from the app used for the event. We have successfully used Slack and Skype as back channels with events happening on Zoom. We also used Slack for a conference channel for main participants and had a separate channel for the team - effectively using the same app for two channels. It is a bit more challenging to keep the two separate but for online teaching we would presumably use Zoom so clear separation is possible and preferable.

1 Like

We have used Microsoft teams instead of slack, as that is what we’ve got provided by our uni.

It’s much harder when instructors have communication via zoom chat because it’s mixed in to participant conversations and easy to miss something as instructor while you’re speaking

I think the bigger risk with having our chat in the same app as we’re running the training is we need to be able to say things like “Googling now - wait & talk for a bit” or “OMG this just fell over!” or other completely informal stuff - and given the cognitive load of all the tools it’s all to easy to share it with the whole class (plus, you can only private message 1 person on zoom, not your entire instructor team).

Technically, I also think you need two chats in that secondary app (teams for us): one where everyone who is not teaching can communicate (and which the instructor teaching has muted), and another (which they can see while teaching) for emergency communication that needs to involve them - otherwise they may get distracted by a bazillion pings from a conversation two helpers are having, for example, about a particular students install issue.

1 Like

Definitely set up a back channel for team communications in a separate app - we have used Zoom-Slack and Zoom-Skype combinations (and for running conferences Whatsapp too, as most people tend to have it on their phones) or anything else that works.

@anenadic when you use Skype are you using it for chat only? Or do you use the voice/video features on the side as well?

Just for chat - as a text-only channel during the event to pass messages around between the team. So, Zoom for video and then Skype/Slack for team chatting.